Monday, 21 July 2014

Laura Thomas Soy Candles: Lavender

Lavender farming in the UK was a topic of discussion with our Sunday visitors today.  Does the UK actually have lavender farms?  Well, after I'd done some research the answer is yes.

A sea of purple gently swaying in the wind for as far as the eye can see conjures up images of regions in France, such as Provence.  Even the English word lavender is generally thought to be derived from Old French; lavandre.

My Mother-in-Law's best friend was the first woman in New Zealand to set up a lavender farm in the late ninety's.  So I've heard some lovely pioneering stories about farming lavender in the Southern Hemisphere.  It had never occurred to me that Lavender was a farming practice in the UK.

( Cotswold Lavender, Gloucester, UK)

Best Known Sleep Aid

Lavender is a fragrance I simply adore.  From cute vintage fabric bags filled with lavender flowers for my drawers as a child to drops of lavender oil in my bath as an adult to aid relaxation, there is something deeply comforting, as well as invigorating about the scent of lavender that makes me feel charged and alive.

It was for this reason that when I introduced my new Laura Thomas Soy Candles in October 2013 (read about them here) the obvious first scent I wanted to use was lavender.  One of the best known sleep aid and treatment of insomnia, I can't recommend enough going to bed with a room filled with the smell of lavender.

What We Know About the Benefits of Lavender

Research shows that the scent of lavender eases anxiety and insomnia.

In one study done at the UK's Southampton University tracked the sleep patterns of 10 adults.  For a week, half of the participants slept in a room where lavender essential oil was diffused in the air throughout the night.  The other half snoozed in a similar room where a placebo of sweet almond oil was released.  After a week, the groups switched rooms.  At the end of the study, the volunteers ranked the quality of their sleep 20% better on average when in the lavender-scented room.

In another study, Psychologists at Wesleyan University in the US asked 31 men and women to sniff lavender essential oil one night, then distilled water the next, for four 2-minute periods just before bedtime. The researchers monitored their sleep cycles with brain scans.  On the night they whiffed the lavender, subjects slept more soundly and they also felt more energetic the next morning.

The researchers found that lavender increased slow-wave sleep, the very deep slumber in which the heartbeat slows and muscles relax. During this phase, the brain is thought to organise memory, as well.

Laura Thomas Soy Candles

My candles are now back in stock in store at Laura Thomas Linens.  Made with essential oil of lavender (made in New Zealand) and no artifical fragrance they are definitely smelly and I can guarantee they will create a sophisticated scent and dress any room or bedroom.  They are 100% soy wax and have a high burn time and are great value for money.

Laura Thomas Linens

6 oz / 170g £10 burn time approx 27 hours  |  8 oz / 227g £13 burn time approx 30 hours  

 Shop here

(Photography / Laura Thomas)

New batch now in stock.

 (photography / Laura Thomas)

(Photography / Jess Burges Exposure Photographics)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Get The Look: Hanging Round Mirror with Leather Strap (aka) Captains Mirrors.

Currently trending at the moment are the fabulous circular mirrors that appear to be hung on the wall via a leather strap.  A clever illusion as the strap is merely for the look and the mirror is hung as per a conventional mirror.

I need your help here.  Should I spend £45 buying one from John Lewis (which happens to be the most reasonably priced around that I can find) or should I make my own?  Decisions, decisions...

(image / John Lewis)

Looking for a DIY version, I found this great tutorial from House & Home that makes it look super easy and cheap using a big Ikea mirror.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Summer Light

Ok, so I was not in the office this afternoon...

Summer holidays mean only one thing.  Fun.  I enjoy making the most of my girl's childhoods and building a lovely bank of memories for and with them.  Both time and people are two things that can never be got back.

The light is so beautiful at this time of year.  The days are long and the light reclaims the colours of day.  It's so enjoyable to look at the summer colours that are our surroundings and soak them up even if it's just for a second.

The perfect end to a perfect day.  Roasted marshamallows on a beach camp fire.

 (Images / Laura Thomas)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

10 Ways to Decorate with Fairy Lights

Fairy lights are on my mind this week.  They are fun and there is nothing better than a house that oozes relaxed functionality. 

Not to be used only at Christmas, these twinkly pieces of art and can be used in so many ways around the house.

I'm currently living in a small space having fun tweaking and moving around furniture and decor.  One piece of advice that has always stuck with me was an interior designer who advised her thoughts on living in a new house.  She was correct in saying "move, move and move again the furniture and art in your house until you are 100% happy with it".

 I'm looking for some inspiration for my decision as to where to place festoon fairy lights above my dining table.  Do I hang them diagonally above the table or drape them over the wall to the back of the table that needs well lit in winter months?  More on this in another post..

10 Ways to Decorate with Fairy Lights

1- Twist fairy lights around a wooden, wire or rope word.

2- Drape festoon lights over a dining area.

3- Pin lights to the wall to form luminated art.

4- DIY style.  Plain lights with a personal decorative touch.

5- Around a large mirror reflecting the light.

6- Over antlers.

7- Festoon lights used as a headboard.

8- Pretty and fun on a bannister.

9- Twinkle, twinkle little jar.

10- Fairy lights used to hang family photos.

(image via Lights4fun )

(All images unless otherwise stated are from Pinterest)

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Trending Tuesdays: Geometrics

It's official. We are firmly in a triangle trend of late. Move over spots, nautical stripes and striking patterns and roll in geometric themes. Today's triangle can be found in pastels and birghts colours in textiles, rugs and ceramics as well and in furniture and pendant lighting. Firmly on trend for 2014, I'm a fan, are you?

(images via Pinterest)

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Colours of Northern England

There is beauty where ever you look.  That is, of course, if you choose to look at life in this way.

I was in the Southern Yorkshire city of Sheffield this weekend visiting family.  Sheffield, became an industrial hub during the 19th century and gained an international reputation for steel production.  Many innovations were developed locally such as the non corroding, non rusting ingenuity of stainless steel.

Since I dream about living in a large open-plan warehouse surrounded by weathered materials, organic textures and subtle earthy hues, I thoroughly enjoyed day dreaming while driving around the city viewing it's enthralling industrial style.

Industry aside, this city is also full of hidden colour in quiet places.  A mix and match of colours from bright vibrant reds and yellow to deep blues and oranges.  Northern England you are unique.

Old fashioned street lighting.

Humming the Coronation Street theme tune couldn't be helped.

(Photography / Laura Thomas)

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Likes and Dislikes #7


:)  Tribal decor.

(image via

(image via

:)  Kids making dens on a rainy Saturday late afternoon.

(images / Laura Thomas)

:)  Sunday yoga in the sun.

(images / Olivia Thomas)

:) Pinterest.  Hooked, line and sinker, I'm obsessed.  Have a peep at my page here.

:) Salvage chic.

 (imge via Country Living)

:)  Homemade cheese buns totally devoured at our Sunday picnic lunch on the beach.

(image / Laura Thomas)

:)   Kids really are cool.

(image / Laura Thomas)


:(  Listen up Scottish people.  We talk too much about the weather.  I undertsand the topic is safe in a country where we're overwhelmingly uncomfortable about showing emotions in a way that, say, the Italians aren't but please!  Let me put it simply.  Scotland is green, green, green and that's because it rains, rains, rains then, if your lucky, it will cough up rainbows.  End of.

:(  Not really a dislike however I stumbled on this crazy blog called F*** Your Noguchi Coffee Table.  It's hilariously weird and makes fun of serious interior bloggers.  Think tourette syndrome cross grumpy old man cross serious style.  Too funny.

:(  Not having a bicycle.  I need one.

:(  Pricey UK train fares.